Our intern Holly Wilkins talks about the current status of gardening and how the Chelsea Flower Show, which often ticks all the boxes of an art and design exhibition, can sometimes fall on deaf ears.
I can’t say that the Chelsea Flower Show has ever appeared on my calendar, and I believe the same can be said for the rest of the younger generation. This maybe down to the connotations associated with horticulture – you wouldn’t expect to see a 20-something tending to tomatoes in their greenhouse. However I believe it is time to shed this reputation.
In its 100th year, the Chelsea Flower Show is known for its high standards and it is quite unbelievable the time and effort that goes into the curating as it takes nearly a month to set up the show, compared with some design shows which only take a few days. Exhibitors put in as much as 18 months to prepare for their show and breed new species of plants especially for the occasion. Factors such as unpredictable weather play a huge role in the procedure of exhibiting and have been known to completely destroy gardeners efforts. You can’t imagine graphic designers or even artists being content to exhibit their work if there was a high chance of rain and wind that could, quite literally, obliterate the fruits of their labour.
The winner of this year, designed by Australian landscaper Phillip Johnson, looks incredible. A studio made out of reclaimed timber cut into petal shapes that sits on top of a natural pool is a design feat in itself, and the effort of composing a garden’s worth of native Australian flowers is unimaginable! Especially when it comes to neatly dispersing colour, foliage in an aesthetic manner – surely just as challenging as any other design project?
With facts like that, don’t you agree they deserve as much praise as designers? Chelsea makes it into the news, yes, but it still never quite makes it into the hot topic of the design world. Could the Chelsea Flower Show do more to attract designers rather than gardeners to ad?